Afghanistan » Security

The Fall of Kunduz and the new Aspects of Afghan War

Published Date: October 11, 2015

For the last fourteen years American and NATO forces are in Afghanistan; however, the security situation has not become improved, and it has reached to a point where one of the most important provinces “Kunduz” to become seized by and under control of the Taliban for the first time in the past 14 years.

This important news is broadcasted in domestic and international media with a wide extent and considered as a serious threat. Some countries in the region follow the Fall of Kunduz, ongoing insecurities in the North and new development of the Taliban in Afghanistan with a great delicacy. This issue carried international reaction and it looks like the United States would review their war and latest positions in Afghanistan.   

Meanwhile, after the fall of Kunduz City, the bombardment of Doctors without Borders’ (MSF) hospital in this city which caused heavy human casualties was the incident that had carried harsh reaction at national and international level. 

The fall of Kunduz has proved the weakness and incapability of NUG and perhaps the war could become intensified. Besides that, some countries due to fall of Kunduz province and the ongoing insecurities raised their concern on whether insecurities in Afghanistan would spread to their countries or not.  

 Change in Taliban’s War Strategy

At first, it was expected the Taliban would leave Kunduz City soon and/or they would be defeated by the Afghan security forces; however, the Taliban did not left Kunduz and started face-to-face fighting, instead. However, Afghan officials talk about the defeat of Taliban in Kunduz[1], but, the Taliban claim of having powerful presence in the city[2] and the city of Kunduz is yet to be fully controlled by any of them.  

The fall of Kunduz can be considered as a start of Taliban’s new fighting strategy, which has two obvious aspects:

First: Spreading the war of Taliban to large cities;

Second: to control the seized areas.

Taliban were just conducting explosions or small military operations in big cities before the fall of Kunduz province. The aim of those operations was not to seize the areas and control them; however, after the fall of Kunduz, it looks like Taliban have not started war in urban areas, but they try to strengthen their control on seized areas, also.

 Why Kunduz Fell to Taliban?

On April 24th, 2015, the Taliban, before the fall of Kunduz, had seized the Gortipa locality of Kunduz which is located near to Kunduz City and is consisted about 40-50 villages. They seized Chardara and Qala-e Zal districts on July, then. From the other side, the Afghan security forces did not clear the Gortipa locality from the Taliban; however, they built a check-post on Gortipa Road in order to prevent Taliban’s advancement, instead. Meanwhile, the Taliban strengthen their presence in Khan Abad and Imam Sahib Districts until August[3] and then started their assaults on Kunduz City in the late September.      

On October 6, 2015, a resident of Kunduz province told VOA that the Taliban in Kunduz province had distributed papers and announced from mosques that they are going to attack the Kunduz city[4]. As the written papers of the Taliban are yet to be received; however, the National Directorate of Security’s (NDS) claims about that they were aware of Taliban’s attacks on Kunduz city.     

Besides that, the fall of Kunduz and the inability of the Afghan security forces (ANSF) in retaking the Kunduz City show that ANSF do not have coordination among them and they do not treat the people well. The deputies of Kunduz people in Parliament also believe that there is a lack of coordination between ANSF. 

Bad treatment of Local Police (Arbaki) with local people, presence of Mafia and military capability of the Taliban were the other reasons behind the fall of Kunduz. The former governor of Kunduz province, Mohammad Omar Safi thinks that the drug smugglers and irresponsible local militia had its hand in the fall of Kunduz. He said that he had sent a list of such people to the central government; and in response, he was told to take care of the Taliban and do not touch the others[5].       

 The continuing Tragedy in Kunduz

The Kunduz people have suffered a lot from the last two weeks. During this, the hospital of Doctors without Borders (MSF) was bombarded by American forces which caused 22 casualties, 10 deaths and 12 wounded.

On the night of October 3, 2015, the American air forces bombarded a hospital of MSF in Kunduz; in the case, the both sides of war were given information about the hospital, according to MSF Organization. From the other hand, intentionally targeting the healthcare centers and the centers for treating wounded people is against the Geneva Convention and International Law. So, MSF said that the airstrike by American forces on a hospital by American forces is against the Geneva Convention[6].        

It is also told that the American forces did this attack after having agreement with ANSF; because, according to Afghan officials, the Taliban had entered this hospital[7]. This raid was condemned on international level and the President of the US apologized for this incident. 

Also, the people of Kunduz are faced lack of food, electricity, health services, bombardment and murder as a result of war continuing from last two weeks. Therefore, a number of Kunduz citizens migrated to neighboring provinces and they exceed 6000, according to the Ministry of Refugees Affairs[8].      

 The Powerful Presence of Taliban in the North 

The fall of Kunduz shows the powerful presence of Taliban in the North. The Northern Kunduz province has strategic importance for Taliban’s upcoming operations and struggles in the North. Besides that, the Taliban started their new military operations from Kunduz for having hopes to this province; in 90s, Kunduz was the first city conquered by the Taliban in the North and it was the last city they left by the end 2001.

The strategic importance of Kunduz City is that is located on the way of two other importance provinces of Badakhshan and Takhar. As the fighting of Taliban intensified in Badakhshan and Takhar day by day; perhaps, it would be a reason behind the Taliban presence in Kunduz.

Before and after the fall of Kunduz, some districts of Badakhshan, Baghlan, Takhar and Faryab are Falld in the North, also. According to a research by “Long War Journal”, overall 29 districts out of 398 districts are in control of the Taliban and heavy clash is continuing on other 36 provinces; specifically, 9 districts of four Northern provinces (Badakhshan, Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar) are in control of the Taliban since September 28, 2015[9]

Meanwhile, the Taliban have seized the Kohestanant District of Sar-i Pol province last week[10] and the Qaysar District of Faryab province is in control of the Taliban, also. Hence, the insecurity in the North and continues Fall of districts by the Taliban is extended from Badakhshan province to Faryab province and these provinces of North have direct border with three Central Asian countries, then.   

However, the above-mentioned situation in the North is due for government’s problems, internal disputes, and lack of coordination among the security forces and presence of irresponsible armed men; but, it shows the powerful presence of the Taliban in the North, also.  

The Northern Insecurities and Reaction of Regional Countries

The concerns of Central Asian countries behind insecurities in the North of Afghanistan are as following: 

First: Presence of the warriors of Central Asian extremist groups in the Northern areas of Afghanistan[11];

Second: Fear of extending insecurities from Afghanistan to Central Asia;

Third: the Islamic State group, which the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union and Jamat-ul Ansar group have pledged their allegiance to this group.

It is the reason which carried the reaction of Central Asian countries and Russia behind the fall of Kunduz and ongoing insecurities in the North of Afghanistan.

At the first days of the fall of Kunduz, the government of Tajikistan closed its three borders with Afghanistan; however, they are open now. The President of Tajikistan expressed his concerns over security situation in the Northern areas of Afghanistan, and according to him, war is going on in 60% of Northern areas of Afghanistan.  

The Collective Security Treaty Organization of Russia raised the number of its forces to 70 thousands due to recent insecurities in the North of Afghanistan; these forces are able to attend the battle field in 72 hours. Meanwhile, 2500 soldiers of this organization conducted military maneuvers in Tajikistan in May, 2015. Also, 95 thousands Russian soldiers participated in a military maneuver in September, 2015 in order to prevent unpredictable incidents in the Central Asia. Besides that, Russia would increase the number of its soldiers in Tajikistan from 6500 to 9000[12].   

The fall of Kunduz and Discussion on Withdrawal of American Forces

Along with the improvements of the Taliban, news discussions on the issue of Afghanistan are come to ground in the West especially in the United States, that the Taliban would not take control of Afghanistan and this country would not become the shelter for “extremist groups” as it was in late 90s after the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan.

Considering this, Gen. Campbell, the head of America Forces told the US Senate that America should review the program of the withdrawal of its soldiers; because at the time this plan was made, Daesh did not have presence in Afghanistan and the situation of Afghanistan was different from what it is in 2014[13].       

Also, a US Congressman from the Armed Services Committee in an interview with CNN told that: “withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan would be a big mistake. The government should not make a mistake which could make the “terrorists” to challenge the security of America again. [14]” As hot discussions about this are going on in America, but, some analysts consider this issue as a drama and think that Americans do not intend to leave Afghanistan and they searches their long-term goals through holding such positions.

The End 

[1] See Online:

http://pa.azadiradio.org/archive/local/20151007/1092/2120.html?id=27292402

[2] See Online:

http://alemara1.org/?p=30487

[3] For more information:
https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/the-fall-of-kunduz-what-does-it-tell-us-about-the-strength-of-the-post-omar-taleban/

[4] VOA TV, 1500 Hours News, RTA TV, October 6, 2015.

[5] The exclusive interview of Mohammad Omar Safi with Shamshad TV, watch it online:
http://www.shamshadtv.tv/2013-03-27-17-58-02/4015.html

[6] See Online:

http://www.bbc.com/pashto/afghanistan/2015/10/151007_ma_mfs_geneva_kunduz

[7] For more information:
https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/airstrike-on-a-hospital-in-kunduz-claims-of-a-war-crime/

[8] See Online:

http://www.tolonews.com/pa/afghanistan/21731-kunduz-war-leaves-6000-homeless-officials

[9] See Online:
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/10/taliban-controls-or-contests-scores-of-districts-in-afghanistan.php

[10] See Online:

http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/21702-sar-e-puls-kohistanat-district-falls-to-taliban

[11] The Afghan government confirms that Chechen, Uzbek, Tajik and Turkmen fighters are against insecurities in the North. Also, according to the National Security Committee of Tajikistan, a number of members of Tajikistan’s extremist groups are gone away to the Northern areas of Afghanistan near to the border of Tajikistan.  

[12] For more information, please read:
http://gandhara.rferl.org/content/afghanistan-kunduz-central-asian-security/27289273.html

[13] Xinhua News, US Commander in Afghanistan proposes change in withdrawal plan, 7th Oct 2015, see it online: <http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2015-10/07/c_134688471.htm>

[14] News broadcasted on CNN, October 6, 2015.

Related Post :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *